Grenadier, Coldstream Guards, 1775


Coldstream Guards; The Guards Division

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This shows a typical grenadier of the period. The grenadier’s mitre has been replaced by a fur cap. The grenadier cap began originally as a fur-trimmed cap, and the fur trimming was replaced by the stiff front, which we have seen in several prints, but in the 1768 warrant the fur cap was brought back. In fact, it must have made its return before that date. Indeed, some regiments had never worn the mitre. The grenadiers of the Black Watch always wore a fur cap closely resembling the one shown here. This fur cap gradually evolved into the bearskin worn by the Foot Guards today. Here is the arrangement of buttons in pairs – an arrangement adopted by many regiments when the 1768 warrant was introduced, but all gave it up in 1857 when the tunic replaced the coatee, except the Coldstream Guards, who retained it until recently. The army white spatterdashes had been generally changed to black – the Clothing Warrant specified black. But the Foot Guards retained white ones and used them until after 1821 for ceremonial dress. With the war in America at this time and the formation of light companies the use of grenadier companies ceased, and the Grenadiers became ornamental. The fur caps were rarely worn on service but kept for ceremony. This grenadier has his hair tied in a plait at the back and not in a queue – generally a distinction of grenadiers.

Sources: An existing coat and a series of contemporary watercolours of the Foot Guards.

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Dimensions 24 × 37.5 cm